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Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Hearing of nightmare children has become so commonplace these days that many people don’t want children because of it. The brats they hear about running around knocking things over at the family Christmas party and putting cherry bombs in mail boxes are enough to scare anyone enough to reconsider bringing them into your life voluntarily. Thankfully, children with good morals are ‘available’ for anyone – all it takes is your assistance and attention. Take the 5 steps below into daily consideration so as to make them a habit, and you will have yourself a child a long way away from the fit-for-horror-movie children you fear in the back of your mind.
5 Be consistent
Consistency is key. You must always have a clear cut answer for decisions – either yes or no, always. This helps kids know that they are not allowed to do certain things, ever, and some things are always allowed. An example would be hitting an animal – that is never allowed. Another is eating greens and vegetables – that is always allowed. He is never allowed to lie, but always allowed to make presents for people. Those are easy examples, but make sure it is just as consistent with other things, like eating cookies before dinner and a set duration for watching TV or playing videogames.
Explain the rule to your child: Why it’s important for her to understand and carry out – this way she can use the understanding for not only this situation, but others like it as well. This also forces you to understand why you are creating the rule in the first place and whether it is a good one or not. “Because I said so” is not good enough and will only create retaliation and resentment.
When she makes a good decision and when she carries out a task, always praise the little one for her efforts, as this will reinforce her good behavior. She will attach your praise with what you would like from her. You can also praise her for what she is not doing, like running amok at family parties.
Always treat your child with respect. They are developing human beings with so much beauty and light, and deserve your respect and love, not to be treated as incomplete or ‘dumb.’ Accept his foibles and temperament and work with him to help him make good decisions, and always let him know you accept him for who he is and do expect good behavior from him because he is a good kid.
1 Be absolutely clear
Make sure that when you set rules for your child, they are clear as a bell. There is no ‘wiggle room.’ Make sure you explain that this is just how it is, and what you do – try to leave ‘should/shouldn’t,’ and ‘can/can’t out of it. We do or we don’t. This gives parents and children the empowerment required to make good decisions with no ‘buts’ or excuses. ‘We do eat this, we don’t eat that.’ When we say we can or can’t eat something, we are giving our power away, and children feel that on a very intense level, much as we do when we’re on a diet. For example, if you say “I can’t eat that cheesecake,” all of a sudden that cheesecake is something we want badly. If we say “I don’t eat cheesecake,” it cuts it out of the equation entirely. Likewise, with a child, when you are clear and use decisive language, you present the only option.
Be sure to always keep love at the heart of your decisions. Sure, you may want to let your child do whatever she wants to keep her happy, but children vitally need discipline, clarity, and direction from parents. Remember that you are her guide to life, not her best friend. Her best friend will be there making good and bad choices with her – you are there to correct the bad choices and keep her safe whether she likes it or not, while letting her know she is deeply loved and cared for.